By Jessica Merkel
Screenings are a critical part of taking care of a newborn child.
Newborn children are often quite healthy, but it is crucial to get a screening to test for any other underlying health or medical conditions. Newborns can be screened for rare medical conditions that may be “hidden.” There are many benefits to these screenings. For starters, if there are any conditions found, there is a better chance of preventing worsening health conditions and even preventing death.
While screenings performed for newborns include blood tests, hearing tests, and a CCHD (Critical Congenital Heart Disease) screening, the blood screening tests also check for other disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, HIV, metabolism disorders, sickle cell and more. These conditions are very rare, but the screening will allow early treatment and prevention if anything is found.
If the tests may show an abnormality, the newborn will be further tested. If there is a need to have your newborn tested a second time, there is no need to worry. This does not necessarily mean that your child is sick, but needs a second test to ensure he or she is healthy.
The blood tests are performed by pricking the newborn’s heel, drawing a small amount of blood. There may be a bit of pain and discomfort for the child. The child may be more comfortable and in less distress if breastfeeding or taking a bottle while blood is drawn. It is encouraged to ask your doctor for more information for preparation for these kinds of tests, and what exactly to expect.
Your newborn is tested within the first 24 hours after birth. Once the test is completed, it will typically take from 10-14 days to get the results. Your baby’s pediatrician should contact you as soon as results are available, and will discuss with a parent the results of the screenings and if any additional steps need to be taken, such as a second screening.
Each state screens for different disorders. Find out what is tested for in your state HERE.
In Kansas, there are currently 32 conditions that are tested. These include six amino acid disorders, two endocrine disorders, five fatty acid oxidation disorders, three hemoglobin disorders, nine organic acid disorders and seven others.
These tests are available at the Women’s Life Center at Newman Regional Health in Emporia, Kansas. The team at the Women’s Life Center has delivered over 40,000 babies and performed a Newborn Screening on every newborn baby. The center also provides parenting classes, mom support groups and much more.
Download a brochure on the Newborn Screening Program – Click HERE
For a list of conditions that Newman Regional Health screens for, visit babysfirsttest.org – Click HERE